The 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which runs from June 12th to July 14th of next year, will be the most streamed event in history. But those using their mobile devices to catch up on the action may be in for a shocking cell phone bill, says Waterloo-based Sandvine (TSX:SVC).
Sandvine says that one tier-1 European mobile network it surveyed counts 28% of its roaming data from audio and video streaming. A three minute YouTube video, which uses approximately 10MB of data, will cost a subscriber on average seven euros to watch while roaming in Europe. Ouch.
CEO Dave Caputo says the company is looking to build awareness of bill shock ahead of the event.
“Controlling the risk for bill shock by tightening the connection between CSPs and subscribers is a win-win for everyone,” he said. “Mobile operators gain the loyalty of their subscribers and new revenue opportunities through tiered services and subscribers gain personalized tiers and roaming capabilities without the risk of unknown charges.”
Sandvine says its usage management product has already proven effective with the UK’s 02 in monitoring subscriber roaming use in real time by sending automated messages when they are nearing their data limit.
The European Union was an early leader in introducing bill shock notification regulations, and Sandvine says similar measures are beginning to be taken in Latin America, supported by operators such as Telefónica, América Móvil, Entel Chile, and Orange.
In 2010 the issue of bill shock reached the FCC. It estimated that more than thirty million Americans had experienced a bill more than $50 larger than what they anticipated, but were not alerted to beforehand. Under new rules the FCC proposed, consumers would have access to simple alerts and easy to find tools to manage their accounts better. It would also, says the FCC “require wireless phone companies to obtain customer consent before charging for services that are not covered by their regular monthly service plan.”
By April 17, 2013, all US carriers must comply with Bill Shock regulations, a move the FCC says will protect more than 97% of US wireless customers.
Sandvine will be discussing the issue through Thursday at Mobile World Congress booth 5B73.